Do Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Really Help?

Vitamins out of bottle
Photo by Kitch –

Billions of dollars are spent on supplements in the US. These include herbal supplements, minerals and vitamin products. The supplements are marketed rather touted as the best cure for diseases caused by deficiencies of essential minerals and vitamins.

However, a number of studies have raised a question about the benefits of taking a supplement for the majority of the individuals.  Here we will take a closer look at the findings of the study about the dietary supplements.

Are Supplements Beneficial for Your Health?

In an article published in the JAMA journal titled “The Supplement Paradox: Negligible Benefits, Robust Consumption”,  Dr. Pieter A. Cohen who works at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Somerville Hospital in Massachusetts said that most people do not benefit from taking dietary supplements.

According to the researcher, supplements are important in treating mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Moreover, they also help in the treatment of age-related diseases such as macular degeneration. However, he also added that most of the individuals do not benefit much from taking supplement tablets.

Dr. Cohen also stated that despite a number of studies that have indicated doubt over the benefits of taking daily supplements, their use has continued to climb in the US. Most of the people use the supplements for reasons such as improving or maintaining overall health or better cardiovascular health. In addition, the use of supplements is higher in older people and those belonging to the lower socioeconomic status.

Additional studies apart from Dr. Cohen also have found that taking supplements offer little benefits. The US Preventive Services Task Force that consists of a group of independent physicians, opted not to recommend regular use of multivitamins tablets by people that were not nutrient deficient.  VegetablesFor those who are not deficient in vitamins, eating healthy foods is one of the best ways to go and nutrition specialists recommend getting the required minerals and vitamins from a natural diet.

The bottom line is that supplements are not a good replacement for nutrient-rich foods. A supplement does not contain all the essential items found in wholesome foods. For instance, the fiber present in vegetables and fruits that are essential for health is not present in any of the supplements.

Apart from that, there is a risk of side effects if people that do not face any nutrient deficiency take dietary supplements. The presence of too many vitamins or minerals in the body results in various side effects that range from mild to serious health complications.

In the end, the best advice is to take a wise and cautious approach when taking supplements. Avoid taking a supplement if your blood tests show there is no mineral or vitamin deficiency. Also, do not take the supplement as an alternative to a healthy diet. The supplements should only be taken on the advice of a professional medical expert when facing a deficiency.

Note: The advice contained within this article is suggestive and is for informational purposes only and should not be followed without the prior consultation of a medical professional!